Posts Tagged ‘Pledge to America’

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First Order of Business: Healthcare Repeal?

January 7th, 2011

House Republicans have made repeal of the healthcare bill their number one priority. Politico reported: “The House on Friday cleared a key procedural hurdle in repealing the landmark health care law, voting 236-181 largely along party lines to move ahead to next week’s final vote on repeal.”

Republicans say they care about the deficit. They don’t. The care about staying in power. Their are major contradictions in their approach to healthcare.

First, these two things can’t both be true:

  1. The bipartisan Congressional Budget Office says repealing healthcare would cost the country $230 billion over ten years (in other words, the new healthcare law will save the country that amount over ten years
  2. Republicans say that “the healthcare bill does nothing to rein in costs.”

In their eyes, the reason it does not rein in costs is because Obama and the Democrats got it done. If Republicans had passed the same bill, they would embrace the CBO assessment about cutting costs.

Second, they say, “Let’s start from scratch,” but their “Pledge to American” says their version of a new healthcare bill has most of the same points as the one that passed. Why does their alternative plan have many of the same ideas? Because many elements in the bill poll very well as stand-alone items, even though the bill as a whole has been effectively demonized and is polling poorly. So which is it? Are these things a disaster for our system, as Speaker Boehner alleges, or are most aspects of the law good for America, as their Pledge to America would have a us believe?

Bottom-line,  it is not going to get repealed…ever. The fact say it is, by and large, a good thing for America. And Republicans have dig themselves into a whole, and they have to stay the course for the sake of power, and they are not looking out for the American people. Period.

See this: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/06/AR2011010606159.html?hpid=topnews

About the bill: I am glad there will be fewer bankruptcies now (good for the economy and lending in general), fewer uninsured young adults who are in start-up jobs with no benefits (they can now stay on their parent’s insurance longer, and not go to the ER when problems hit—and it allows their employer to keep their costs low for these positions); no child will be uninsured as a result of circumstance beyond their control, and we will get better economies of scale to lower costs when another 30 million newly-insured citizens are force to cover themselves (and lessen the ER approach to doctor visits). I am glad the government is not going into the healthcare business, just expanding regulation of the private healthcare thieves insurance industry. I absolutely love that insurance companies now have to spend a certain percentage of their revenue on direct care (pushing them into a velocity-quantity financial strategy, rather than a “denial-of-care” profit strategy that harms individuals).

Still…we still have not fixed long-term Medicare cost projections; the law probably requires too much paper work from small businesses; and we need to force doctors/clinics/hospitals to publish their costs for consumers, with insurer incentives, to involve consumers in cost control.

At the end of the day, however, the healthcare reform bill is a great thing for Americans. One has to wonder, though, given their agenda, if  Republican leadership is good for America. I, for one, seriously doubt it.

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Party Like It’s 1994!

November 3rd, 2010

The Republicans have tried their best to make 2010 the new 1994.  In 1994, after 46 years of Democratic control, the Republicans finally won the majority in the House. They remained in control of the House for 12 years until 2006, when the Democrats took back the House. From 2002-2006 the Republicans controlled the House, the Senate, and the Executive Branch. During that time they had the opportunity to implement everything important to them. What they did do (and didn’t do) is telling: They started an unprovoked war in Iraq. They tried to privatize social security (and failed), but did nothing to expand healthcare to millions of uninsured citizens. They did nothing to improve government transparency, but rather, they allowed illegal wiretapping. They did nothing to rein in unchecked spending, but instead set spending records and allowed no-bid contracts to private contractors such as Halliburton and Blackwater. When the Republicans now claim to want to fix healthcare, create transparency, and rein in spending, why would we believe them. We need to look closely at the Republican agenda. Why would we give them power, when in fact their agenda is against the interests of most Americans?

This week, they took the House, and picked up seats in the Senate. Commentators are trying to make sense of the shift. It can’t be the Tea Party, because very few of those candidates won. It isn’t a “mandate” of their agenda or a “referendum” on Obama’s party because a number of Democrats won, such as Cuomo as New York Governor, and Senate Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Rather, the shift was a predictable change that comes with most mid-term elections for a first-term president. But this time around, voters are disgruntled about the slow progress of the economy, and they took out their frustration at the polls. The problem with giving Republicans another chance at fixing the problems that they created is that they don’t have a different plan from what they have done in the past. That is, their plan  is to do what they have always done over thee past several decades.

Since the 1980s, the Republicans have basically used their “Starve the Beast” strategy. This strategy is basically to cut taxes (i.e., revenues) so that we can’t afford government programs. The ultra-rich are given special tax cuts, breaks, credits, loopholes, etc. Military spending is increased to suck up most of the federal budget. With less tax revenues they drive up the deficit, blame the Democrats, and scare the public about the mounting deficit. Once voters throw them out of office, Republicans happily leave behind a huge mess for the Democrats to clean up. Democrats now have to make the tough choices about spending and reviving the economy. While out of power, Republicans sit on the sideline and criticize anything the Democrats do to fix the mess, and even try to block anything that might help people, such as extending unemployment benefits. Republicans do everything they can to cut social programs that actually help people and create a middle class, and to cut taxes that would actually help us pay down our debt. They turn the public against Democrats with their rhetoric about “tax-and-spend-liberals,” and throw in a few words about abortion and gay marriage to please the religious right (but do nothing on these issues while in office). And then they bet on public amnesia to try to regain power in subsequent elections. This strategy has worked for them over the past several decades, but it has harmed our country.

Now that Republicans have reclaimed power in the House, what will be their agenda? » Read more: Party Like It’s 1994!